Political stripes mean nothing when you walk into a room full of kids who are just excited to see a new face.
New Brunswick Education Minister Dominic Cardy and Liberal MP Karen Ludwig toured one of the province’s newly designated Early Learning Centres in Hanwell, N.B., on Tuesday.
The provincial rollout of the New Brunswick Early Learning Centre program, which was spearheaded by the previous Liberal government, is now complete and has been expanded to include home-based daycares. The program began in March 2018.
“To me, a good policy is a good policy, and it doesn’t make any difference what party colour it was developed under,” explained Cardy.
“Our government is committed to improving childcare services across the province in order to help build a world-class education system.”
Under the program, families who have household incomes of less than $80,000 can apply for a subsidy that will cover some daycare costs.
The only stipulations are that children must attend daycare at an accredited facility, and both parents must either be in school or working.
The initiative is part of a $71-million commitment between the federal and provincial governments.
“Everyone needs to have a fair and equal playing field when they’re starting school, and those formative (years) zero to four, zero to five, are really critical, and we can see that through research,” said Ludwig, the MP for New Brunswick Southwest.
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It’s unclear whether the PCs will also fulfil the Liberal plan to introduce wage increases from $16/hour to $19/hour over a four-year period.
“Any financial things are going to come out in the budget in just a couple of weeks’ time, which will be an exciting day given both budgets will come down the same afternoon,” said Cardy.
Parents are encouraged to register for the Early Childhood Services Portal, where they can access the subsidy calculator and other relevant information on early learning services and programs.